The Teams for tomorrow's opening rounds of the PRO14 Rainbow Cup have been named and are listed below alongside live TV Broadcast information.
- Captain Iain Henderson returns to the Ulster XV where the attack will be led by the international half-back pairing of John Cooney and Billy Burns
- Caolin Blade starts at scrum-half for Connacht with Jordan Duggan coming in at looshead in the two changes from the team that faced Leicester in the Challenge Cup
Iain Henderson makes his return to lead the side and will be partnered by Kieran Treadwell in the second row. Andrew Warwick comes in to start at loosehead prop, with Tom O’Toole at tighthead and Rob Herring selected to start at hooker. In the back row, Matty Rea comes in at blindside flanker, with Sean Reidy at openside, and Nick Timoney completing the pack at Number Eight.
Jacob Stockdale makes a positional switch to full-back, and will be joined by Ethan McIlroy and Robert Baloucoune in the back three. Stewart Moore will form the midfield partnership with James Hume, and John Cooney and Billy Burns are named as the starting half-backs.
Will Addison is set to make his return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines as he is named among the Ulster back line replacements alongside David Shanahan and Michael Lowry. John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor and Greg Jones are the forward options on the bench.
Two changes come in the backs, where Caolin Blade is promoted to the number 9 shirt and Ben O’Donnell is named on the wing. The final change is in the front row where Jordan Duggan starts at loosehead.
Otherwise the team is as selected against Leicester in the Challenge Cup, with the experienced duo of Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham joining Duggan in the front row, a second row duo of Ultan Dillane and Gavin Thornbury, and a back row consisting of flankers Eoghan Masterson and Conor Oliver, and captain Paul Boyle at number 8.
Jack Carty partners Blade at out-half, Tom Daly and Sean O’Brien continue their centre partnership, and winger Matt Healy and full-back John Porch form the back three with O’Donnell.
Ulster: Jacob Stockdale, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Iain Henderson (CAPT), Matty Rea, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Michael Lowry, Will Addison.
Connacht: John Porch, Ben O’Donnell, Sean O’Brien, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Jordan Duggan, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, Conor Oliver,Paul Boyle (CAPT).
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Niall Murray, Abraham Papali’i, Kieran Marmion, Conor Fitzgerald, Peter Sullivan.
Ulster v Connacht – KO 20:15
Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU, 64th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy, Rob O'Sullivan (both IRFU)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)
Live on Premier Sports 2, eir Sport 2, Super Sport (SA), ESPN+ (USA), pro14.tv.
Deferred Coverage: 22:25 TG4